Euro 2016: Wales can beat Belgium, says Mark Hughes

Gareth Bale, David Cotterill and Andy King
Gareth Bale, David Cotterill and Andy King celebrate during the Euro 2016 qualifier against Cyprus

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes says Wales can win their Euro 2016 qualifier against group favourites Belgium next month.

Wales are top of qualifying Group B after beating Andorra and Cyprus, and drawing 0-0 with Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Chris Coleman's side travel to Belgium on Sunday, 16 November and former Wales boss Hughes is hoping for another win.

"They've been up against them in the past and acquitted themselves really well," said the former Chelsea striker.

Hughes, 50, led Wales to a Euro 2004 play-off match but they were denied a place at the European Championships after losing to Russia in 2003.

Wales drew 1-1 against Belgium in a World Cup qualifier 12 months ago and Hughes believes Coleman's side are capable of getting a result in Brussels.

"It's a big task but you can have lots of good, individual talent but they have to gel into a team," Hughes added.

"Belgium, in that regard, have underachieved in certain games.

"It's not an insurmountable task, certainly with the talent that Wales have.

"We can go there and give a good account of ourselves."

Belgium have only played two games so far and are third in the group after beating Andorra 6-0 and drawing 1-1 away to Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Wales' remaining Euro 2016 qualifiers
Andorra (h) 13 October 2015
Bosnia-Hercegovina (a) 10 October 2015
Cyprus (a) 3 September 2015
Belgium (a) 16 November 2014; (h) 12 June 2015
Israel (a) 28 March 2015; (h) 6 September 2015

Wales went into the campaign with renewed hope of qualifying for the finals of a major tournament for the first time since 1958, because of the expansion of Euro 2016.

For the first time, 24 teams will qualify for the competition from nine groups.

The top two teams in each of the nine groups, the best third-placed team and hosts France, qualify automatically.

Another four of the third-placed teams will qualify via play-offs, which will be played in November 2015.

"Because of the structure of the tournament now there's a good opportunity that Wales hopefully can take," said Hughes.

"Everybody would really enjoy an occasion such as a major championship for Wales, it's been too long.

"Chris is enjoying the group that he is working with. When you have the quality that he has at his disposal it makes your job easier.

"He's got a lot of players playing at top clubs and obviously the stand-out guy is Gareth Bale, a genuinely world-class player.

"Let's hope we can get him to a major championship."

Euro 2016 qualification process
24 teams will play at the finals in France
53 teams will chase 23 places, with the hosts taking the other place
The winners from eight groups of six and one group of five, runners-up and the best third-placed team will reach the finals
The eight remaining third-placed teams will contest two-legged play-offs to determine the last four qualifiers

Wales played in front of capacity crowds at the Millennium Stadium under Hughes but crowds have dropped in recent years, with only 7,500 attending a World Cup qualifier against Serbia last year.

However, nearly 31,000 fans saw Wales battle to a goalless draw against Bosnia-Hercegovina earlier this month and Hughes hopes matches can be played at the national stadium once again.

"In terms of the attendances, they're steadily going up," said the former Barcelona and Manchester United forward.

"It would be great to be able to maybe take games back to the Millennium Stadium and experience those 75,000 crowds that we had in my time.

"Those were fantastic times and it would be great to recreate them.

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